These are some of the last books I read to my grandchildren before Christmas. I have tried to include as many of their reactions to these books that I can remember.

Who Are You Calling Weird?: A Celebration of Weird & Wonderful Animals

Who Are You Calling Weird?: A Celebration of Weird & Wonderful Animals by Marilyn SingerPaul Daviz (Illustrations), Published October 23rd 2018 by words & pictures

4.5 Stars

This is one of those non-fiction books that reluctant readers (especially boys) will love. The weirder the better, and this book shows some. There are animals that I had never heard of and some that I had seen in zoos and aquariums, but I still learned something about most of the animals highlighted. My grandson absolutely loved this book. He kept asking about the pictures and as I read he would point to the illustrations and make comments about what he was hearing. My granddaughter (2.5 yrs. old) thought some of them were “cute” but most she kept saying “Yucky”.

From the Pacific barreleye with its see-through head to the Hairy Frogfish that’s spine has added tentacle that look like worms, this book provides an introduction to some of the world’s most unusual animals. Some are a little more well known such as a platypus, three-toed sloth or kiwi, but there was still information about those animals that I did not know. We learn that each odd behaviour or peculiar visual characteristic has a purpose such as for hunting, camouflage, protection etc. Learning about each animal’s behaviour, diet, habitat, and some human beliefs about the creature is punctuated by a large illustration of the animal. My one big disappointment is that there are no actual photographs of any of the animals, a sure 5 star is that had been present. Of course I would be remiss not to mention the focus on conservation and how each animals’ survival may be endangered and the reasons why. This is a fun and interesting book to introduce kids to some of the weird animals in the world and pique their interest in learning more about adaptations, environmental awareness and animal protection. A sure winner in a school or class library. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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43503343Mack’s World of Wonder. The Cutest Baby Animals by Mack van Gageldonk, Published November 11th 2018 by Clavis

4.5 Stars

This non-fiction book is full of facts and pictures about a variety of different baby animals. It is divided into two sections, Babies on the Farm, and Babies in the Wild. The facts are simple to understand but still provide a lot of information. My granddaughter enjoyed this book as most of the animals were familiar to her. She liked the little question at the end of each two-page spread. My grandson (age 5) also enjoyed learning some new information, but was not as interested as the 2.5 year old. The illustrations were photographs which I always like with non-fiction books, but they all has an added illustration/cartoon like section as well. I can see this book being enjoyed as part of a family library, used in a classroom when learning about types of animals as well as a beginning reader enjoying this story for its simple text, yet informative nature. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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The next two books are both part of the Science Comics Series published by First Second Books. They are non-fiction, graphic novels. The two I am reviewing are both about animals. These books are geared to children from ages 8 and up. Because of that, when I read these or should I say tried to read these to my grandson, he was interested in parts of the story and the illustrations, but not the overall book. He was just too young.

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39073413Science Comics: Polar Bears: Survival on the Ice (Science Comics) by Jason ViolaZack Giallongo (Illustrations), Published December 31st 2018 by First Second

4 Stars

I really like the Science Comic Series. They cover many subject matters, but this one is about Polar Bears as well as what it takes to survive in the high north. It shares information about the formation of ice, the melting of the polar ice caps and global warming as well as what we can do to stop it. We learn about a polar bear family, how they live, what they eat, how they hunt and more. Buckle up as you read this adventure about Anik, Isla and their mother.

Join two curious polar bear cubs as they play, hunt, and navigate life in the Arctic. With the assistance of their mother they learn polar bear biology and behaviour, as well as strategies and skills that will help them thrive in a landscape that is rapidly changing beyond their control. Each season brings different challenges and changes in their way of life. We learn about the family unit and why their father is not with them. Even though Isla feels bad for the seals they are hunting, her mother shares that they do not feel what is happening and that they all love the seals, they love them so much they want them inside them. This book shares a lot of information about Polar Bears in a cute and competitive way between siblings. I learned a few things from this book that I did not know about the polar ice caps or polar bears. The graphics are well done. They are not too scary, but the bears are definitely wild animals and although the cubs are cute, they are not pictured as pets. The graphics add greatly to the text and information shared. A great addition to a school, classroom or public library. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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Science Comics: Cats: Nature and Nurture (Science Comics) by Andy Hirsch, Expected publication: August 13th 2019 by First Second

4 Stars

This is another great addition to the Science Comics series. This book features wonderful illustrations with great information about how cats came to be the extremely popular pets we know and love. Bean, our narrator, is an adorable calico cat. By going back to the beginning of their appearance on earth, Bean teaches the readers about wild cats and domesticated cats. Even the evolution and genetic mutations and breeding of cats was shared in an interesting and somewhat humorous way. The information is interesting and presented in such a manner as to be accessible to both children and adults. It touches on behavior, genetics, evolution, habitats, and domestication/ It also shared what makes cats special, and answers some of the basic cat questions. How do their ears work? Why are their tongues like that? How do they always land on their feet? I was fascinated by the description and illustrations of how the “righting reflex” works. The discussion of nature vs nurture when it came to hunting was also quite interesting. The graphics are well done. They are colourful, a good mix of realistic and cartoony, and well used to help move the narrative along visually. Although this book is geared to children ages 8 and up, as an adult, I also found it quite interesting. This book would be a great addition to a classroom, school or public library. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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The Great Bear Rainforest: Bringing Wilderness to Life on the Big Screen by Ian McAllisterAlex Van Tol, Expected publication: February 15th 2019 by Orca Book Publishers

5 Stars

This book is billed as a children’s book, but I think it is a book for anyone who is concerned about the environment, endangered species, and wants to know about filming in some rather extreme situations. This book is about the creating of an IMAX film about The Great Bear Rainforest. It took three years to make this film. In the book we learn about the ecological area, the animals that live there, the changes in the habitat over the years and how the indigenous people live and protect the area. The tidbits about the various personnel involved in the film from the camera people, the sound people up to the indigenous guides, we learn about the various jobs and how people achieved what they did. The climate causes problems, situations to overcome and some funny quotes and situations. The one animal that seems to galvanize everybody is the spirit bear. This is not an albino bear, but a recessive trait that causes the fur to be white. It actually helps the bear to hunt better. From flies and maggots all the way to grizzlies and humpback whales, every animal plays a part. This area went from being designated as a TSA (timber supply area) by the Canadian Government 25 years ago to a protected habitat today, and this book shares some of that story. I really want to see this IMAX movie someday. This book could be used in so many ways, such as learning about employment in the film industry, protecting the environment, learning about indigenous people and how they protect the environment as well as the Great Bear Rainforest Habitat. What a great introduction to so many areas of study. This would make a great addition to any school or public library. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

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